For decades, Vikings fans have tried to get the legendary player Jim Marshall into the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Forty-three years after his retirement, he comes closer.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced the semifinalists for the seniors and coaches/contributors’ categories for the Class of 2023. Marshall made the list.
Twelve people are on the senior committee. To be eligible to be a senior nominee, players had to play their last game in the 1996 season. The next step for Marshall is to become one of the 12 finalists. The results will be announced on July 27. Up to three members of that group will be eligible for final consideration for the Hall of Fame. Still, a long way to go for the ‘Purple People Eater,’ but it’s still noteworthy that he’s coming closer.
Marshall played for the Vikings in the organization’s first game in 1961 after playing one season in Canada and another in Cleveland. It was one of the best trades the Vikings will ever make. He started 270 consecutive teams for the purple team between 1961 and 1979. Neither injuries nor anything else could stop him from dressing up and playing for his Vikings on Sundays.
Marshall played in all four of the Vikings’ Super Bowl appearances, unfortunately without winning one. However, he was the leader of the defense. A defense that was nicknamed ‘The Purple People Eaters’ and featured defensive players of the year Alan Page and Carl Eller. Gary Larsen was ´the Policeman´ in the middle. Despite his great teammates next to him, Marshall was the unquestioned leader of the bunch. His 127 sacks still rank second among all Vikings players, only trailing Carl Eller. Eller and Page are already members of the Hall of Fame.
No other player will ever wear the Vikings jersey with the number 70 again, as the franchise retired his jersey. He is also a member of the Ring of Honor.
Hall of Fame coach Bud Grant coached the defensive end for most of his career and had the highest praise for his former player in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
“If you put out a magazine on the 50 greatest Vikings, Jim Marshall would be on the cover. He is the greatest Viking of all time, and not just because he played all the time, but how he played. On Tuesday, he might have an ankle so swollen you were surprised he was able to walk, and on Sunday he would play, and play well. I would say it’s an injustice that Marshall’s not in the Hall of Fame, but it goes way beyond that.“
His durability and longevity should already put him close to the Hall of Fame. However, his leadership and consistently high level of play should put him over the top. A bust in Canton, Ohio, is what his remarkable career deserves.
Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. He chose the Vikings as his favorite team, despite Christian Ponder being the quarterback at the time. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt